tv [untitled] October 27, 2010 4:00pm-4:30pm PST
actually at the end of 2009 where they took three different assessments of the cost of crime in this country. and we averaged the three different numbers that were provided by the studies. in looking at those numbers, if we were to compare the number of homicides that we have to date and quantify that in dollars and cents to the cost to our community and compare that to just two years ago, the savings are staggering. it's almost $800 million in savings that this community has realized by this reduction in crime. these things do not happen by accident. they happen because good people are working together and making a difference. first we'll begin with the bases for our driving force, if you will. if you recall, one of the things that we wanted to ensure is that we continue to work collaboratively with our community to make san francisco the safest largest city in the country. although we're not there yet, we're certainly moving in the
right direction. that is something we want to talk about all the time. next i want to put the numbers up there for you so you can see, just very briefly, what in short three years' time the reductions in crime of serious crimes in the city. as you see, we're down 13%. if we compare it to two years ago and 9% when we compare it to a year ago. these are year-to-date numbers. next, just another way breaking down the crimes and looking at it. all of you will get a copy of this powerpoint. i'm not going to read it for you. we have a agenda today and i want to make sure that we get to some of the real important points that we want to make here today. those numbers are there for you and you will have access to this powerpoint. what i would like to do now is we're going to have, we have a couple of speakers that are going to come before our d.a. comes up and closes this portion of the press conference and then we'll open it up for
questions and answers. one number that i really like to point out to you because there is no question that without the hard work of the men and women of the police department and their ability to work well with all of the other stakeholders, crime would not be as low as it is. and one of the things that i think is really important to illustrate is how aggressively our men and women are going after violence. this is really illustrated, if we can go to the next slide, please. the one that has the -- the next one. i think we're going perhaps backwards. i'm talking about the one that has violence reduction accomplishments and it has -- there we go. look at the number of firearms that have been recovered year-to-date in the city. 787 firearms. those are crime guns. every one of those guns haze story behind it and they're not good stories. this is what our men and women are confronting on our streets
day in and day out as we put them in the places at the time of the day in order to make sure that we reduce violence and that we reduce the likelihood of carnage in our city. i want to make a point here, i think it's a point that especially now that we're in the middle of an election process, the reason that we're getting these firearms and the reason why crime is down in the city is because in addition to all of the work that is being done by all of the other partners is that we in the police department have the ability to take a look historically where crime is likely to occur, but also prospectively try to analyze, based on the data that we have, very rigorous process, and put police officers where they need to be at the time that they need to be. and if we allow police deployment to be dictated by political forces as opposed to
by professionals looking at objective factors in order to make sure that the limited resources that we have are placed at the right time and the right place, we are not going to see the level of decreases that we're seeing today. this doesn't happen by accident. the 787 guns were picked up mostly because we're putting police officers in harm's way, by the way, but they are there where they need to be in order to find the people that are carrying the guns. and that is the important message that i want to make sure that we communicate to all. we have a couple of guest speakers here today and we're going to be talking, first of all, about a program that we're very proud to be a partner of with the drug enforcement administration. so we're not going to finish this first? ok. i guess we're moving on the fly, we're going to alter the plan a little. i'm going to put you guys later. we're going to have the d.a.
say a few words and we're coming back to the rest of this thing, ok. the ability to be flexible. >> good, and hopefully brief on my part. i wanted to applaud and thank mayor gavin newsom for his leadership around the issue of public safety. it has been a process of dedication, of smart distribution of resources and priority on his part and the success is evident. i want to applaud our great chief of police, george gascon for his vision and for his ability to uniquely because of his career as a law enforcement leader make decisions that are in the best interest of the public safety in san francisco. i also want to use this opportunity to encourage everyone to support his leadership and his ability to exercise discretion and to know what is in the best interests of public safety when he makes decisions about how the resources of the police department will be used, because clearly, he knows what he is doing and we see the results right here in these statistics. i'm also proud of the work of my office because the hard-working men and women of
the san francisco d.a.'s office are responsible for the highest conviction rates that we have had in san francisco in over 15 years. in the last few years, we have sent twice as many serious felons to state prison as had occurred before. there was a charging rate for crime that were brought to my office of around 50% when i took office and now it is over 70%. it is because of the important and good collaboration that is taking place between the men and women of the san francisco district attorney's office and the men and women of the san francisco police department. i'm proud of the work that we did earlier this year, most specifically as one example of many cases that we have been prosecuting, where in the early part of 2010 we took several, in fact, nine gang members before the grand jury. we produced over 77 witnesses that discussed the crimes that they were responsible for committing, which include murder, attempted murder, robbery, illegal possession of
guns. the grand jury returned the documents in those cases and those -- indictments in those cases and those individuals are being held accountable for those crimes. it is, again, an example of work that happens because there is the collaboration that takes place, not only between the d.a.'s office and the police department, but also our other law enforcement partners at our local, state, and federal. all in all, we are seeing that we are smart as we have been as a city, in recognizing that there are many layers and many angles which we can approach the issue of crime and violent crime, when we collaborate around that and when we are smart with the resources that we have, those limited they may be, we see that results occur. with that, i want to congratulate and thank everyone and pass it on to the chief to continue with his program. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> next as i was indicating, fighting crime requires that you remain flexible in that you look at the various factors that influence crime. there is no question that drug use and drug abuse is one of those areas that, quite
frankly, often drives a great deal of our crime. and, you know, many people talk about drug use and drug sales as being sort of a victimless crime. the realities that we in law enforcement know that is not the case. drugs actually drive a tremendous amount of violence. they drive a tremendous amount of the other crimes that we deal with. in recognition of that, we have many other partners and one of our great partners is the drug enforcement administration. and we work with them very closely. not only do we look at the illicit drugs and those that are manufacturered by underground type of operations whether it be across the border or here, but one of the problems that we have here is prescription drugs and the impact of prescription drugs and the misuse of prescription drugs has on our society. for that i would like to bring over to the podium, if i can have our partner from the d.e.a., mr. martin and he is going to talk about the prescription drug operation that we have been working with
and will continue to, please. >> thank you. as chief gascon just said, last month on september 25, the d.e.a. with its state and local counterparts throughout the nation conducted its firstever nationwide prescription takeback program. on that day in just a four-hour period, we collected over 242,000 pounds of prescription drugs nationwide. thanks to the overwhelming response of the public that these unused and unwanted prescription drugs have been in people's medicine cabinets for years sometimes are now, have now been properly disposed and communities are safer and more likely to be drug-free. the overwhelming support we got by the public demonstrated that there is a clear need for a permanent solution to the problem of safely disposing
unused and unwanted prescription drugs. and the september 25 event highlighted the value of that recently pass secure and responsible drug disposal act of 2010. the president just signed this into law yesterday and this legislation is going to allow d.e.a. to create a process that could take up to 18 months, but to create a process where we can turn in our prescription drugs, the unused and unwanted drugs that are sometimes in our medicine cabinets for years and dispose of them properly on a regular basis. i guess i want to sum up by saying what chief gascon and our partnership that we have. on september 25, under the chief's leadership and with san francisco police department, we were able to collect hundreds of pounds of prescription drugs throughout the city of san francisco. the chief set up 10 collection
sites throughout the city for the community members to be able to drop off these drugs. the most collection sites of any police department, at least in the d.e.a. san francisco area of responsibility which covers all the way from bakersfield to the oregon border and we really appreciate that. the partnership that we have created with the san francisco police department under chief gascon's leadership, in fighting prescription drug abuse, because we do know it's on the rise in the country and so we formed a partnership to really combat this serious issue. so i appreciate it, chief gascon, thank you. >> thank you so much. what i would like to do is we're going to go off order here because the mayor and ms. harris have a very busy schedule and they have to move on. we have one more presentation. i hope you stay for it. it's about crime prevention and about putting out some public safety tips. i would hope you hang on. prior to that, i want to open it up for some questions that you may have for the mayor or
ms. harris as far as the numbers are concerned. >> sthaudsthaud >> can you -- can you talk a little bit about that? >> it is an unfortunate truth that often when we have a downturn in the economy, we will see an increase in domestic violence cases. and to that extent, then we have to respond. so we have been doing the work of dealing with domestic crimes from a number of perspectives. one it is around what we need to do obviously is prosecute those cases and they are being prosecuted. those abusers are being convicted. we have also done work that is about empowering victims to hopefully avoid a crime in the future. in particular, we just passed legislation with senator yee that now is going to allow domestic violence victims in the state of california to have the protection of law if they are being evicted because of the noise and the damage that
is caused by their abuser in an apartment that they are renting. this is ground-breaking legislation. what it will do is it will allow a domestic violence victim to avoid becoming homeless because of her victimization and it will empower her with the law protecting her ability to maintain a home where she can live and where she can provide shelter for her family. we also brought in recently from the department of justice, my office brought into san francisco $800,000 to provide for bilingual services for domestic violence victims in san francisco. that then will give us the resources that we need to do the outreach in particular with our immigrant victims of domestic violence so that they know that they can trust the system when they report crime and that we will, in fact, protect them and there will be a consequence to their abuser. there is all good work. and obviously, realizing we are going to react when we have to, but we can also prevent and in that way we can be smart. >> i want to just very quickly,
while calls have been up, actually, criminal instances of domestic violence in the city are down year-to-date, ok. the numbers are year-to-date, last year there were 719 cases. year-to-date this year, there are 707 cases. we're actually down 2%, ok. so i want to make sure that we get that across because we do work with the d.a. and we work with other stakeholders in this very closely and we take domestic violence incidents very seriously, and especially in those places where we know that there is a history of domestic violence, we work very aggressively to run intervention and prevention efforts. again, year-to-date numbers, aggravated assault involving domestic violence, there are 719 versus 707. i'm talking about aggravated assaults, ok. so the numbers are down by 2%.
i just wanted to make sure we had that. >> you mentioned the individuals as well and the homicide, the atrocious ones, with tourists, the arrests, there have been arrests and charges, is there any way to work on that >> we're working this case very aggressively. we know that the people that are involved in this case, we have to make sure that we make a case that is prosecuteable. we have to be able to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. that's a very high standard. we have to do so with evidence that would be admissible in court. we may have some very good theories of the case and we're working this case very aggressively, we have to make sure that we put a case that would lead to a successful prosecution. this is a case that we're on it, just like we are on many homicides. because of the fact that
homicides are also as low as they are this year-to-date and last year, this has given us for the first time the opportunity to increase the work that we do on cold cases. actually there is a great deal of effort that is being put forth in order to deal with homicides. other questions for the mayor or ms. harris? >> let me just, and i'll get out of everyone's way. let me amplify something the chief said because it's important and to amplify a bit what the district attorney said. let's keep this going. we're moving in the right direction. let's not put into the hands of elected officials here at city hall the determination of how best to deploy the resources of the san francisco police department. let's keep that in the hands of the police professionals, the police chief, the police commission. let's not allow politics to enter in to those decisions.
this chief and law enforcement in partnership with the district attorney's office, probation and others, have proven they can get the job done. the last thing we need to do is bring it back to the hands of the san francisco board of supervisors. >> thank you. >> what i would like to do now is i would like to continue with a couple of presentations that are going to be very quick, but they have a tremendous amount of value for the public. first i would like to bring captain charlie orks that works in our community relations unit. >> good afternoon, the san francisco police department understands that it has a responsibility in educating the communities in public safety and in this area we understand that there is large volumes of community members in this city where english is a secondary language. some individuals do not speak english, read, write, or understand it.
so we have the task of educating them. in a department, we have come up with some policies where we have dedicated phone language lines in each district station so if you're a victim, you can go to the station and you can talk on a three-way conversation with the officer, someone who speaks that specific language, and the victim. and it can get the crimes reported in that manner. we have signs displayed in every district station, they are two feet by two feet laminated posters and these signs are in seven, eight different languages telling the community members that they have access to someone who speaks their language. it's important that the community know that they don't get the same level of service that english speaking people do in this town, they do get the same level of service. we have things printed out that officers kea. they're possibility guides. they have another guide that
can give to the community and it's in 98 different languages. to assist the police department in our efforts, we worked collaboratively with san francisco safe and at this particular time, i would like to introduce cindy brandon from san francisco safe. >> good afternoon. i would like to thank chief gascon, the mayor's office, and the district attorney's office for their commitment to public safety as well as their efforts to reduce crime and their increase in conviction rates. i also would like to thank the community because without their knowledge and efforts in reducing crime and preventing crime, we wouldn't be where we are today. a few quick things. some of the crimes that we're seeing today are definitely preventable. i think our role as a crime prevention partner of the police department is to educate the public on things they can be to be aware of things that will happen in the community no matter what city you live in, no matter what neighborhood you live in. some of the crimes that we are saying are theft of the use of
cell phones, ipods, laptop computers while in public. we encourage everybody to be alert and aware of their surroundings at all times, even if they're exiting their home or their car. a lot of times, they're comfortable with their surroundings so they're not really paying attention. what we encourage people to do is whenever they're out in the public, just pay attention. look around you. notice if there are people hanging out suspiciously. notice people that are too close to you. carry your purses and your wallets close to your body. do not carry them in one place. we suggest to carry them at different locations on your person or in your purse. that way if something is stolen, your hole world and your purse and your wallet is not taken away at once. we encourage people to report suspicious activities to the police at all times, calling 911 or nonemergency will definitely get a police response. also, another crime that we are seeing is car breakins or auto
boostings. people leave items in their cars that are visible. so we encourage people to not leave anything visible in your car at all times. never leave anything visible including a jacket or a shopping bag. as we approach the holiday season, people tend to leave their shopping bags or their coats in their back seat of their vehicle. police do not leave anything visible in your car. if you need to put something in your trunk, police do so before you arrive at your destination. that way people will not know that something is in your trunk. a lot of these crimes are crimes of opportunity. we would like to educate the public on safety tips that include being aware of your surroundings, knowing how not to become a victim. reducing the amounts of incidents that occur when people are careless when they flash their wallet at an a.t.m. in the dark or they're walking down a dark alley away that is not lit late at night. just practice safe habits.
i think with the public learning all of these things, especially as we're entering into the holiday season, we can help contribute to the reduction of crime in our cities. so please pass on some of these safety tips. we do have more information on our website and with the police department. it's sfsafe.org. we're a tremendous asset to the community. please pass this on and help others learn about their surroundings and help prevent crime. thank you. >> before we open this up, i would like to give the opportunity to the vice president of the police commission to say a few words. >> thank you, chief. first of all, i would like to thank mayor newsom for having the foresight and the courage to hire a true policing professional by bringing chief gascon to san francisco. he has raised the level of professionalism and we recognize that as a police commission. thank you for your hard work. i would like to thank the members of the san francisco police department, the men and women who do this job every day. we as police commissioners are the liesson between the
community and the police department. i have to tell you, i left a medal of valor, it's where we get together and decide what the medal will be. the chief talks about guns coming off the street, violent guns. we saw where they took away guns immediately on the spot. they had the courage to take the gun away. it was very impressive. we had some young officers in the housing projects who chased somebody down and took him out at gunpoint. he was carrying an ak-47 with 30 rounds in the clip. that makes you proud as being a member of the police commission and a member of this city. the officers are doing the job out there. those guns came off the street and those people are in custody. i want to thank the officers for their hard work, i want to thank the mayor. i want to thank chief gascon. he has done a great job. thank you. >> thank you, commissioner. we can reopen for any questions that you may have. yes. >> chief, my understanding -- a
number of shootings more than that in previous years or car robberies in the tenderloin as well. >> unquestionably, crimes move around and sometimes you put resources in one place and you move it to another area. there are neighborhoods that we have seen some concerning trends and we put a great deal of attention. some of you may recall that actually earlier in the year, we started to have a spike in robberies. year-to-date, robberies are now down again. as a matter of fact, as of the last week, we're down 7% which compared to the same time year-to-date. at the beginning of the year, we were having, in fact, those of you that really follow the statistics as closely as i do will remember that at the beginning of the year, robberies were inching up.
again, there was a great deal of brainstorming that went on, a lot of people working together, working doing a lot of analytical work who the suspects were, who the victims were, where was it occurring and a lot of efforts put together and that was turned around. so while there is no question that there are places that we are having issues and there are certain neighborhoods that we need to continue to pay attention to, the overall trend is a good trend. the reality of the ideal society there will be no crime is very unlikely to occur, especially in an urban environment. we know that there is always going to be areas where there are issues. the question is not whether we have the issues, but what do we do to avoid it or prevent it. one of the reasons why i wanted san francisco safe to come in and cindy to talk is the best way to reduce crime is by preventing crime in the first place. the best way to prevent crime is not even by arresting a suspect, but quite frankly, it's been taking the
opportunity from the crime to occur in the first place. there are a lot of things and most of them are bad that occur when a crime occurs. if you leave an item unattended in a vehicle and a young person, 16, 17-year-old sees that computer there that is very attractive and he or she breaks the window in order to steal that computer, you are doing several things. number one, you're out your computer more than likely. that is going to increase your insurance and increase the level of fear in our community. the other thing that is occurring, too, is we have a young person that eventually will be arrested, if not for that crime, but another crime, and you have a person that is in the system as a criminal and his or her likelihood of being able to succeed as they grow old, it diminishes significantly once they engage in crime. when we're preventing crimes, not only are we doing ourselves a favor and the community, but we're also helping a lot of young people that very often
are tempted to commit a crime, that if we perhaps were more thoughtful of removing the opportunity, that would not occur. one of the things we talk about our communities san francisco safe, very assertively talking to people about how to avoid becoming a victim. there are a whole bunch of things that occur once that crime takes place that impacts even including the lives of those that are actually committing the crime. any other questions? >> [inaudible] what specific areas of crime -- >> i mean, we're evaluating this on a daily basis. i think that most of you, again, those of you that follow the numbers very closely, you
know that we have in the last 18 months or so we have had a tremendous reduction in overtime. this department has gone from general funded over time. i know that it's confusing, but there are different pockets of overtime. there is one where the officers get paid by merchants to work on their off-duty time. you often see that on the report of the controller. that is not tax base overtime. there is the general funded overtime which is what the taxpayers pay. that amount has gone from nearly $23 million just two years ago to right around $5 million this year. when you compute the numbers, that is equivalent to about 115 police officers that are not here today that were here just two years ago. so if you take that number and you say, ok, we have reduced already about 115 officers by that reduction in overtime and then in addition to that, you put that on the backdrop that
we, through the budgetary process, agreed to reduce the size of our force by another 78 officers, you can see the math very quickly gets to the point that we are approaching very rapidly to the point where we're going to have about 200 officers less available to deal with crime problems. 115 that come from the reduction in overtime and 78 that will simply be people that will be leaving that will not be replaced. that is nearly 10% of our workforce. that is why it's so important for the community to understand that the deployment of police officers really needs to be left up to us because we're putting people where they need to be. you cannot, on a static fashion, deploy police officers on a foot beat just because it's nice to have them there. if there is crime in that area, it calls for it. we do not have the luxury of doing so today and it's less